10 Trends You Need to Know About the Asia Cruise Industry

Shanghai ‘Bung Area’ photo by Dave Jones

CLIA has released its 2016 Asia Cruise Trends Study. Not surprisingly, the study reveals that cruising in Asia is growing by leaps and bounds and the report found that it shows no signs of slowing.

According to the study, Asian source markets experienced the most growth year over year in ocean cruise passengers, increasing 24 percent from 2014 to 2015. However, cruise deployment in Asia, capacity and destinations have also been growing.

“The cruise industry has been nimble and responded quickly to the demand for cruise travel in Asia by delivering cruise ships with amenities and experiences tailored to Asian travelers,” said Cindy D’Aoust, President and CEO, CLIA. “Asian cruise travel continues to deliver a growing number of enticing opportunities for international guests to visit Asia’s fascinating destinations.”

The fact that the market is growing did not come as a surprise to industry experts, but the amount of growth is unprecedented.

“While we expected Asia to experience record-breaking growth in cruise travel, we are astonished at the rate at which the region is emerging as one of the most significant cruise destinations and cruise source markets in the world,” said Dr. Zinan Liu, chair of CLIA North Asia. “The Asia Cruise Trends project has again developed extremely valuable data on what is happening in Asian cruising, its current size and recent growth trends.”

In its State of the Asia Cruise Industry report, CLIA details 10 trends to watch for in this market.

More Cruises
The number of ocean cruises and voyages offered in the region is continuing to grow. This year, there are 1,560 sailings scheduled, which is an increase of 43 percent when compared to last year.

More Cruise Ships

In 2013, there were 43 cruise ships in Asia. Last year, there were 52. This year, there are 60. There is also an increase in the number of ships that are sailing in the region year-round. Fourteen are operating year-round this year, with an additional 12 ships on an extended deplyoment.

More Capacity
With more ships staying longer in the region, capacity is rising. According to CLIA, capacity surged 51 percent this year, reaching 3.2 million passengers.

More Destinations
Currently, there are more than 200 destinations on offer in Asia, across 17 countries. It is one of the easiest ways to see multiple destinations in the region.

Right now, Japan is the most frequented country, with 1,526 port calls in 2016, followed by China (850), South Korea (745), Vietnam (466) Malaysia (422) and Singapore (391).

The most visited port is South Korea’s Jeju Island, followed by Shanghai, Singapore and Fukuoka.

More Passengers
Asia saw the biggest growth of any destination for cruising, growing 24 percent from 2014 to 2015 and welcoming 2.08 million passengers.

More Chinese Cruisers
Chinese travelers represent nearly half of all the cruisers in the region. In 2014 and 2015, China was the world’s fastest-growing source market.

More Shorter Cruises
Asian cruisers make up the majority on Asian cruises and they want shorter journeys. Thirty percent desire two- to three-night journeys and almost 50 percent want cruises that are four to six nights long.

More Asia Exploration
According to CLIA’s report, Asian outbound tourism is exploding around the world but Asian cruisers want to explore more Asian destinations. More than eight out of 10 Asian passengers (84 percent) cruised within Asia.

More Under 40 Cruisers

While the average cruise age skews older, in Asia, 42 percent of cruise travelers are below the age of 40.

More Amenities for Asian Travelers
Cruise lines are bringing their best ships to Asia and their best new amenities, flooding the market with inclusive onboard activities, high-end shopping, adapted menus and more.